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PastorWeekly Lessons

Continuing education for ministry leaders
Weekly Lessons, created and written by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA, give you a basic legal overview of essential topics based on staff or volunteer positions within a church.

Previous Lessons

Week of February 10

Investment Fraud - Part 1

Week of February 17

Church Names

This Week's LessonWeek of February 3

Investment Fraud - Part 2


This lesson focuses on the issue of Investment Fraud. You can review the Executive Summary to obtain the key points or read the Weekly Lesson for a more thorough presentation of this topic. Start by completing the following interactive quiz to test your knowledge.

A church raises $250,000 for its building fund but is still years away from reaching the goal specified by the congregation before construction can begin. This year the pastor meets Jon, an "investment expert," who seems very knowledgeable about investment opportunities. Jon claims that he can turn the 1 percent return the church is earning on its building fund in a local bank to 30 percent or even 50 percent. The pastor is skeptical at first, but begins to see Jon as an answer to prayer. The pastor is also impressed by Jon's description of a "high yield investment program" involving international banks. The pastor invites Jon to make a presentation to the church board. Jon assures the board that the investment program only involves the "top ten world banks." The board is impressed, and votes to turn over the investment of the church's building fund to Jon. Within a few months, Jon suggests that the pastor promote the investment program to members of the congregation. With the pastor's encouragement, many church members invest their own funds in Jon's program. After several months, the pastor, board, and individual investors begin to wonder when they will receive their 50 percent return on their investments. Jon assures them that it is only a matter of time. A year passes, and still no earnings have been reported.

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